The Indian independence movement was full of struggles and everyone contributed in the best possible way they could. Literature is regarded as the cornerstone of any monument whether it is a revolution or evolution. Indian literature in English also contributed a lot in the time of independence and also, the authors tried to do their best in depicting the scenario of Indian freedom movement so that those who could not participate can have a clear picture of what might have happened in those hours of grief and hours of disbelief. There are many books that are written at the time of independence struggle and many ones which were written after the independence of India but having the plot which revolved around Indian freedom struggle. So, here are the books that I am suggesting you should read if you are anxious to know about Indian freedom movement in the years closing to 1947 or after that red-letter day in the history of India.
- Kanthapura: Undoubbelly, Knathapura is one of the best novels that have highlighted the struggle and the movements of the time of British rule in India, also in a very constructive way which is rather surprising to me (and it must surprise many as well). While there is a subtle art that goes on to represent the oppressed as the monsters with various follies instead of calling out the oppressors, Kanthapura by Raja Rao is a novel which has tried to portray the qualities that we Indians had and we used those in order to unify the entire society as one and jump into the war of freedom for the motherland. The novel reflects the Gandhian philosophy in a very beautiful way. The protagonist of the novel is a Brahmin man who is an intellectual personality and tries to unite all sectors of the society irrespective of the usual apprehensions by the influential people from within the community. The novel has beautifully used the religious metaphors to show the beautiful sides of religion, Gods, Kirtan and Hari Katha which have become rare in Indian literature. At those times, it was very difficult to do so but sooner or later results came in a positive manner. He accomplished his mission and they started the war of independence within their capacity. The major take away we can take in this novel is ‘united we stand and divided we fall.’ You should read this novel to understand what we have been through during those years and also the genius Raja Rao was.
- Untouchable: Untouchable is a very famous novel written by Mulk Raj Anand. It is realistic in nature and portrays the caste-divided society of India in a raw form. Though Raja Rao has done the same thing but in a constructive way whereas Anand has painted all the things in a raw form with colloquial language. This may be considered as the necessity for the time because many people did not believe things unless they saw it themselves. The novel is centric to the major protagonist Bakha and the story never put him in the background. Anand is known for his realism and the same he has been done in ‘Coolie’ as well. However, Untouchable has a background (which is literally in the background only) of the independence struggle and Gandhian philosophy and Coolie has a background if grim realism after the independence and shattering Gandhian era in the foreground itself.
- The Tailor’s Needle: It is a contemporary novel written by Lakshmi Raj Sharma. However, the novel is set in the years before independence and that is more or less like Kanthapura in terms of the set-up of the scene, the novel by Raja Rao. In the same way, the author has tried to put things in a constructive framework rather than being a one-eyed realist. The characters in the novel by Lakshmi Raj Sharma, The Tailor’s Needle, are versatile and they develop with time. The central figure, somehow, is Sir Saraswati Chandra who stands up to the metaphoric title The Tailor’s Needle and does the job of a tailor’s needle perfectly. The chores of Indian freedom movement are very much heard in the novel once we near the conclusion and it culminates wonderfully with a fiery speech by one of the characters in the novel.
- Waiting For The Mahatma: It is written by R.K Naryan and sets within the boundaries and a little beyond the 1940s when the freedom movement was at its peak. The protagonist of the novel is Sriram who is like an ordinary youth but he later transforms (by the inspiration of his beloved Bharati and in the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi) to be a staunch Gandhian. He devoted his life to live like Gandhi and to move forward in the freedom struggle to try and do his bit. These things happen when a girl Bharati comes in his life. Their love story goes in the background but Gandhi was there for a greater cause. Living like Mhatama and following his ideology was not an easy task. The idea, vision and struggle of Mahatma Gandhi are portrayed in the very artistic manner. The unusual occurrences of Subhash Chandra Bose’s radio messages emit a conflict in the mind of the novelist himself and the critical readers will know what I am suggesting here. R.K Naryan is well-known for mixing his themes in a way that you will get the reading pleasure and you will be compelled to understand the meanings beyond what you see and read in the text. A wonderful read based on Indian freedom struggle that you should not miss!
- Janardhan Talbot: It is a wonderful novel set within the first war of independence in 1857. It is written by Mohan Timmaraju, an author who directly comes from a family of first-generation freedom fighters. It is the story of India’s revolt against the suppression of the English. The novel comes in two volumes and has been written in a very subtle way. The story is so fascinating that it can motivate modern readers to go ahead and finish the novel which might otherwise be limited to a very selective group of readers. Janardhan travels to England to understand the life of Britisher and with hopes of money and comfort. However, what he gets to know is the problem faced by someone for being an Indian in the foreign land and that is what strikes the idea of a revolution inside him. He came back to India and starts the war against the suppression and injustice done to India and Indians. This is a wonderfully written novel and drives the readers with excitement and enthusiasm until the end.
So, dear readers of Indian Book Lovers, this is what I had to offer in my list today. You will get to read many more list of selected novels from me and I am sure that you will love some or all the novels on the list once you go through the same. You can buy these novels from Amazon India and you will be happy to know that you will get attractive discounts once you click the link below and begin your book shopping!
List by Amit Mishra for Indian Book Lovers